5/5/2014 Article Links

Joke:

The Irish don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo. They do celebrate Fifth of Gin.

 

Security stuff:

Data breaches 9% more costly in 2013 than year before (this isn’t helping my feelings of insecurity about the Internet at all)

IBM rolls out new security suite, services as Target CEO’s head rolls (Hmm…bowling with CEO heads…I sense a new game idea)

11 reasons encryption is (almost) dead (It sure smells dead)

 

Web and mobile stuff:

Thanks to Tom Wheeler, the end of the open Internet is nigh 

iPhone 6 release date, news and rumors (It’s not a tumor…wait…never mind)

This AI tells you if your website is too cluttered (or you could just have your Mom look at it)

 

Cloud stuff:

Cloud Apps Soar, CIOs Take on New Role (Now with more fluff)

Run your own cloud storage for less, EMC says (…with their help, of course)

 

Microsoft stuff:

Microsoft Is Technology’s Comeback Kid (No kidding?)

Microsoft’s decision to patch Windows XP is a mistake (darned if they do, darned if they don’t)

Microsoft reissues botched Windows 8.1 Update KB 2919355 (hopefully, this doesn’t bring on another round of botulism)

High-tech Gaming Is Giving K-12 STEM Education A New Way To Play: A First Person Perspective by Corinth CEO Ondrej Homola

Bing Ads Jump Start (Add some bada boom to your bada bing)

Make Windows 8 Games with Construct 2 (Pro Construct advice)

Building Blocks: Initialize() C#, .NET, & JavaScript Dev Skills

Unity 3.5 RTW: Now with more Peace, Love, and Rock ‘n’ Roll (Wasn’t there something about drugs and something else in there?)

Twenty C# Questions Explained (Because they don’t feel like answering any more)

 

Other stuff:

Hadoop, Python, and NoSQL lead the pack for big data jobs 

Graphic Design Tips for Game Apps 

Not Your Father’s Java: An Opinionated Guide to Modern Java Development, Part 1 (In other words, check your own opinions at the door)

Experiencing Silicon Valley overload? For help, look inward 

Apple, Facebook, others defy authorities, notify users of secret data demands 

79 Percent of IT Administrators Want to Quit Due to Stress (The remaining 21% work for insurance companies)

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Three Types of Comments You Can Stop Doing Right Now!

All right, step away from the double slashes and no one will get hurt! Over the years, I’ve seen plenty of bad commenting practices, and I’ve been guilty of doing some of these, myself, but it’s time for us all to just move on and simplify our code in the process. Consider each of these a type of smell in the code, to the point where the code can smell like New York City after a month-long sanitation strike.

Here they are, listed in no particular odor (pun intended):

 

Commented out code

Why, oh why, do we need to keep commented out code in our production code? Even in the days before source control was common, this was an insidiously evil way to mire down maintenance programmers, or even yourself. Now that we use source control on a regular basis, there really is no need to keep hanging onto this stuff.

The problem is, most programmers will just leave commented code right where it is. Partly, this is simply out of fear – fear that somehow the code has meaning, it might still be needed, or it’s something someone was working on. Another reason programmers won’t delete the unneeded stuff is they simply don’t feel it’s their responsibility (“if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”). New programmers will think that leaving in commented out code is some kind of standard, and they will start doing it all the time, as well. After a few years, some files may consist of almost as much commented out code as real code, if not more.

The fact is, commented out code doesn’t do anything, so it’s really just visual noise. It makes real code harder to read. Commented out code shows up in searches, which can cause a little extra confusion. It also makes it a bit more difficult to do code compares.

So, just say no to commented out code. Go ahead, rip it out. No one will miss it. If anyone truly needs to reinstate it some day, it’s right there in source control. They can copy-paste it right back where it was, and probably discover all over again why it was commented out in the first place.

 

The historical marker comment

Here’s an example of this type of comment:

if (index < maximum) // Added 1/1/2014 XYZ
{
...
}

These comments are completely unnecessary, assuming you’re using source control. Then, we can see who to praise or blame, as the case may be. As with commented code, this stuff can really start dragging down the readability of the code, without adding a single useful tidbit of information about the code.

 

End-of-block comments

These comments can be found decorating the end of do, if, while, for, foreach (or the equivalent), enum, struct/type, switch/select statements, and even methods or functions. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, pay attention to the comment at the end of the while statement:

while (index < 100)
{
// Do some stuff for the next 2000 lines…
index--;
} // while (index < 100)

 

Maybe you really do need to see that comment to let you know when your 2000-line while loop is finally over, but if that’s why you’re doing it, there are now two reasons why we’re going to send you to bed without your video games, your iPod, your Droid, or your quad-copter.

The bottom line is, if you keep your methods and your block statements short, it should be no problem for the average programmer to see both where a block starts, as well as where it ends.

These comments actually add more density to the code, making it harder to read. On top of that, they do not add any new knowledge to what or why the code is doing what it’s doing. Worse, when people change the stuff going on in the top statement, they frequently forget to update the comment. And if you have nested block statements and discover you need to swap things around? Yep, you have to make sure the comments go along for the ride. In other words, using these comments also adds to your maintenance woes.

Keep your code blocks short, and just get rid of these comments. After a while, you’ll find you don’t miss them.

5/3/2014 Article Links

Joke:

How do you know when a politician is lying? His lips move.

 

Security stuff:

Microsoft fixes IE zero-day flaw (Even for XP)

Heartbleed postmortem: OpenSSL’s license discouraged scrutiny (There was a license?)

This is why companies are still afraid of the cloud (Big puffy things scare us)

 

Web and mobile stuff:

Google aims for purity with Android Silver (Wake me up when they get to platinum)

Google mines fool’s gold with Android Silver (Apparently, they’re using Pyrited software…)

Google deals made Android phones more expensive, lawsuit claims (Gee, you’d think they were trying to actually make money…)

Microsoft OneNote for iPhone, Mac receive major updates (On another note…)

Windows Phone 8.1 to get a file manager (It’s about time they did something to manage Windows Phone)

Yahoo is the latest company ignoring Web users’ requests for privacy (Apparently, they don’t give a Yahoo)

A Massive Market Opportunity Awaits In Analyzing The Internet Of Things (Just keep this stuff away from the toilet, please. I don’t want any data dumps from that source.)

5 Clever Ways to Increase Mobile App Reviews (Better start working on the next five ways after everyone starts doing these things)

 

Other stuff:

Tech companies get a little less silent about government data collection (I am mouse. Hear me roar.)

The 9 Most Difficult-to-Fill IT Roles (Number 10: Cinnamon Role)

HP expects first x86 Nonstop systems next year (You can’t stop the Nonstop Express)

IBM creates world’s smallest magazine cover with microscopic 3D printer (Because people read so little these days)

SanDisk unveils a monster 4TB SSD (And now we all want one…or 16)

Jury finds Samsung infringed some Apple patents, must pay $120M in damages (What is that? Like $1 for every phone sold…if that?)

Here’s whom to blame for those terrible tech buzzwords (They’re naming names)

Fifty Years of BASIC, the Programming Language That Made Computers Personal (A BASIC history lesson)

5/1/2014 Article Links

Joke:

I’m reading a book on anti-gravity. I can’t put it down.

 

Web and mobile stuff:

var functionName = function() {} vs function functionName() {} (This ought to be worth reading at least 17 times)

How Adobe Is Moving on From Flash to Embrace HTML5 (Let’s all pan the flash)

Wearables offer hazy hope for mobile chip growth (Ah, yes, a chip off the old frock)

Why Smartphones Are About to Get Tacky as Hell (Crass dismissed – please!)

The Future Of Mobile Advertising Will Be Shaped By Two Trends (Thing one, and thing two)

12 Chrome extensions power users will love (Great spelling error in the initial screen. Maybe they can find a spell-checker for their graphics editor in their search for the next 12 extensions)

 

F# stuff:

Another Porter Stemmer in F# (Excess baggage not included)

Code coverage using dotCover and F# make (Covering yourself with nothing but a dot – not just for nudists, anymore)

Simple Parallel Array Filtering in F# (Slowing making our way toward complex parallel universe filtering)

F# scripting for a component based game engine (Because it’s fun)

F# and List manipulations ((Sometimes, it’s OK to be manipulative)

Facilitating Open Contributions for the F# Compiler, Library and Visual F# Tools (We open at Effin’ 5 O’Clock Sharp)

Where to practice your F# with fun? (Under the blanket, with a flashlight?)

Twenty six low-risk ways to use F# at work (Feel free to try this at home, too)

 

Other stuff:

Programming Sucks (Yep. And yet we love it.)

IoT Startup Evrythng Secures $7M Series A From Atomico, BHLP, Cisco And Dawn 

Report: Google Glass parts make up 5.3%—roughly $100—of $1,500 price tag (Sounds like a glass half full kind of thing)

America’s nuclear arsenal still runs off of 8-inch floppy discs (Sure, why not? They could come back in style some day.)

Sony develops tape tech that could lead to 185 TB cartridges (And in other back-to-the-future news…)

Good news: IT businesses see growth. Bad news: They can’t find people to hire. (Must be a shortage of twenty-somethings who skateboard and suck down energy drinks)

Millennials and tech: Round pegs in a square cubicle farm (I don’t think hatred of cubicles is restricted to millennials)

4/30/2014 Article Links

Joke:

Anything that is unrelated to elephants is irrelephant.

 

Other stuff:

EMC’s Project Liberty could free storage software from hardware 

Google acquires a taste for Power — IBM’s processors, that is (Suddenly, I feel very Blue)

Encryption in the cloud is scarcer than you think (I’ll have my encryption medium rare, please)

Big data hype didn’t speed growth in the BI market, Gartner says (It’s big data. Of course it moves slowly. Duh!)

How Disqus Went Realtime with 165K Messages Per Second and Less than .2 Seconds Latency 

Dear bosses: Grow up or get lost (If you have a boss like this, run. Fast. Now!)

What Facebook May Unveil At F8 (The Fate of Facebook developers? Get it? F8 = Fate?)

Zero-day Flash bug under active attack in Windows threatens OS X, Linux too (Die, Flash, die)

Debugging GPU Code in Microsoft C++ AMP (I’m up to my AMP-pits in GPU bugs, so this will be great)

 

Other tech stuff:

Researchers try new ‘twist’ on smartwatches (You…mean…like…a…dial???)

Whizzy gadgets, IoT devices take the stage at TechStars Boston Demo Day (All kinds of stuff you’ll absolutely have to have, but won’t actually need)

Can cops legally fire “GPS bullets” at fleeing cars to track suspects? (Great idea, until someone figures out a good countermeasure, or there’s an increase in pedestrian injuries from misfires or bad aim)

 

Free stuff from Microsoft:

Free ebooks from Microsoft Press

Defense in Depth: Windows 8.1 Security

Moving to Hybrid Cloud with Microsoft Azure

New Microsoft Threat Modeling Tool 2014 Now Available

4/29/2014 Article Links

Joke:

Two city slickers are driving home during a blinding winter storm and run out of gas in the middle of a forest. One says he thought there was a house over a hill, so they set off in the snow to try to reach it. Along the way, they stumble across some tracks and quickly get into an argument about whether they are deer tracks or rabbit tracks. Both are very loud, obnoxious types, thinking they know it all and they are very competitive, so they go on arguing rather loudly for quite a while, ratcheting up the volume as they start screaming at each other. So involved in their spat, they were, that they were both run over by the 2:00 A.M. freight train.

 

tl;dr

Stuff.

 

Web and mobile stuff:

iPhone gets ‘GPS-like’ geomagnetic-based app (Now you can finally find yourself)

16 Best Online Tools for Testing Code Snippets (Be sure to sharpen your scissors first)

SSH Kung Fu (Not to be confused or associated in any way with this product: Hai Karate)

Microsoft rushes to fix browser after attacks; no fix for XP users (No fix for you!)

Web SQL Database: In Memoriam (Oh, well)

Rebuilding An HTML5 Game In Unity ((Hey, let’s not play games, here)

EXTENDING THE WEB WITH COMPONENTS (Yeah, instead of compost like we used to…)

Chrome DevTools Features You May Have Missed (If you don’t know about them, how would you ever miss them?)

20 Useful Docs and Guides for Front-End Developers (Cherry-picked just for you – assuming you enjoy cherries)

Heroku joins other PaaS providers in supporting PHP (I’d prefer to PaaS on PHP, myself)

Famo.us, AngularJS pairing brings out the best of JavaScript (Fangular?)

 

Other stuff:

7 Ways to Advance Your Project Management Career (Ironically, each one corresponds to a deadly sin)

git-kick-base(1) Manual Page (Somebody had a little spare time)

Lessons learned from a cancelled project (Honk if you’ve been there, done that)

Stanford bioengineers create circuit board modeled on the human brain (Oh, good, now I can upgrade that buffalo chip I had been using for a brain)

Cloudera and MongoDB: ‘We’re better together’ (Joined at the bit)

The cloud rains on Big Software’s parade (Today’s forecast: Cloudy, with a 25% chance of profits)

4/28/2014 Articles Links

Joke:

There’s a band called 1023MB. They haven’t had any gigs yet.

 

Security stuff:

US CERT and KB 2963983: Don’t use drive-by-enabled Internet Explorer (Ugh, here goes another round)

Microsoft confirms Internet Explorer zero-day 

Sure disaster: How not to do the Internet of things (Back away from the toaster and no one will get hurt)

 

Other stuff:

IBM puts all its cloud services in online marketplace (That should make both of their cloud customers happy for about two minutes)

The state of the Internet: Faster, with more IPv6 — and more attacks (More thrills. More chills.)

10 users IT hates to support (Be the first IT Tech Pro to collect all ten!)

Forget Your ISP: Mesh Networks Are The Future Of The Internet (Wake me up when it actually happens)

Having High-Tech Gadgets Is a Career-Booster, Says Study (There you go, another reason to buy more electronics, as if you really needed another reason)

The Face Recognition Algorithm That Finally Outperforms Humans (It nose who you are)

Top 10 Mistakes that C# Programmers Make (Read the article, and learn how to C Sharper)

What’s left of NoSQL? (MoSQL – you see, if you read the alphabet left to right, M is left of N. Go ahead and slam the browser shut indisgust, now)